Perceptive gamers have been keeping an eye on Artifact, the troubled card game created by Valve to compete with the likes of Eternal and Hearthstone, and their prospects look really bad. The game has barely been out three months and the signs are all over the place that the game is in trouble.
Within the past week, Artifact’s concurrent players peaked around 1300 in total last Saturday. Within the past 24-hours, the game’s concurrent player peak was a mere 935 players, with only 630 playing in the last hour. Anyone being honest can see that Artifact has little chance of rebounding. The only way this game can come back is if Valve puts in a huge amount of effort into rebalancing and marketing the game to push player numbers up. Problem is, that’s unlikely to happen, as any boost such an endeavor yields in other games only served to delay the inevitable shutdown. There’s a tiny possibility that the game can regain traction, but the hope for that is little more than a glimmer at this point.
So what happened? Since launch, the game found an early bit of popularity, drawing in tens of thousands of players, but a short two weeks after launch, more than 80% of players had fled Artifact. Many players and critics pointed to the lack of a substantive end-game or competitive scene, something major competitors have in spades, as a primary cause for lack of long-term players. Many people were also turned off by the monetization model which mimicked the pay-to-win aspects of real card games a bit too much. The common complaints seemed to stem from the perception that new players were at too much of a disadvantage and had no real recourse but to turn to the secondary market, in this case Steam Marketplace, for new cards at the “best” prices.
So whatever Valve plans to do, if it’s not shutter the game, they need to do it now.
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